Donor Spotlight: Kellogg Alumnus Sends Gratitude Across the Pacific
Though Peter Tan (KSM83) has plenty on his plate as CEO of Burger King Asia Pacific and a member of the board of Burger King Corporation, he hasn’t forgotten the value of giving to Northwestern.
In fact, it would be hard for Tan to forget the impact the University has had on him.
“Kellogg’s well-balanced program has not only helped me become more confident, creative, inquisitive, and strong-willed,” he says, “but it has also enabled me to make transitions across industries.”
Tan is referring to his jump, more than two decades ago, from banking to the food industry. In 1993, he left Citibank Singapore and entered into a China-based joint venture with McDonald’s. By 1997, he had officially joined the corporation, and over the next eight years eventually rose to corporate senior vice president and president for greater China. This position gave him responsibility for the overall management of more than 1,250 restaurants across Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau.
In 2005, Tan left McDonald’s for Burger King, where he started out as executive vice president and president of Asia Pacific. Tan has since moved up to CEO of the Asia Pacific division.
Noting that his time at Northwestern has had a tremendous influence on his current success, Tan asks, “How can I not care about and even nurture an institution that has made such a powerful impact on my life’s journey?”
“I feel that I have a moral obligation to give back to my alma mater,” he continues. But for Tan, “the action of giving is far more important than the amount … When I make the commitment to give back to the school on an annual basis, I am sending the message that I value the education that my alma mater has provided me with.”
That message is heard loud and clear at Kellogg, where Tan directs his giving.
“Peter cares deeply about the future of Kellogg and Northwestern,” says Kellogg Dean Sally Blount (KSM92). “He is integral to our high-profile initiatives abroad, and as a leader of the Kellogg School’s Asia Alumni Council, Peter is committed to strengthening ties between alumni in Asia and beyond. In true Kellogg fashion, Peter leads by example: he gives his time, energy, and philanthropy. We are proud to count him among our alumni.”
Tan also explains that it is to alumni’s own benefit “to protect the investment that they have made in the school, both in terms of time and money.”
Yet beyond this, he says, “alums need to, on a more altruistic level, provide the opportunity for others to share in the same experience that we have been so blessed with.”